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Back to school IEP basics

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

If your child receives special education services at school, you are probably familiar with the term Individualized Education Plan (or IEP). Under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B, every student who receives special education services must have an IEP.

If you are concerned that your child is not making adequate academic progress, you may request an evaluation from your child’s school. In some cases, the school may initiate this process if the child has not responded to supports or interventions that have already been provided. After the evaluation, the team will determine whether or not your child meets the eligibility criteria for special education services. In the meeting with the evaluation team, the results of the evaluation will be shared, and you will find out if your child is eligible for services.

Though eligibility criteria vary from state-to-state, your child may be eligible for one or more than 13 different types of special education services. One of the special education services provided in schools is speech and language impairment. This is sometimes referred to as a “related service” if your child also meets eligibility criteria in another area. Speech and language impairments may include articulation disorders, language disorders, and fluency disorders (e.g., stuttering), just to name a few.

The IDEA requires certain information to be included in each child's IEP. Each state may add additional information, but federal law requires at a minimum:

  • Current performance: includes how the child is currently doing academically and functionally

  • Annual goals: must be measurable and state what can be reasonably accomplished in a year

  • Special education and related services: specifies what services will be provided

  • Participation with nondisabled children: explains the extent to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in class and activities

  • Participation in state and district-wide tests: indicates what modifications will be provided or if alternate tests will be administered

  • Dates and places: answers when services will begin, how often they will be provided, where they will be provided, and how long they will last

  • Transition service needs: beginning at 14 years or 16 years old, refers to what will be needed for the child to reach goals after graduation.

  • Age of majority (if applicable): beginning at least one year before the child reaches the age of majority, refers to a statement that the student has been told of any rights that will transfer to him or her at the age of majority.

  • Measuring progress: specifies how and when the child’s progress will be measured

If your child is not eligible for special education services at school, there is still help available. If your child needs help in the areas of speech, language, or social communication, you can contact a speech-language pathologist in your area to request these services. Unlike the strict eligibility criteria that schools follow, a private speech-language pathologist will compare your child’s abilities with expectations regarding normal speech and language development in order to determine appropriate services. Even if your child does have an IEP at school, you can still contact a private speech therapist for additional services.

If you are interested in learning more about how Online Speech Services' model of online speech therapy can help your child meet his/her potential, please contact us today! Your initial consultation is free! Call us at (732) 844-3525 or e-mail us at to schedule a time to talk. #backtoschool #speechpathologist #speechandlanguage #onlinespeechtherapy



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